ION Initiates Next Phase of ArcticSPAN Seismic Data Program

ION has initiated the next phase of its ArcticSPAN seismic data program. Recognizing the hydrocarbon potential of the Arctic region, which the United States Geological Survey (USGS) estimates could contain nearly 25% of the world's undiscovered oil and gas resources, several of the world's largest energy companies have agreed to underwrite a new, basin-scale imaging project to study the deep crustal architecture offshore Greenland. Acquisition of this phase of the ArcticSPAN program will be undertaken by the Octio Group, a subsidiary of Norway's GC Rieber Shipping, utilizing ION's Intelligent Acquisition streamer technologies.

Ken Williamson, Senior Vice President of ION's Integrated Seismic Solutions group, commented, "ION has been actively acquiring seismic data in the Arctic since 2006 when we acquired the initial phase of our ArcticSPAN regional program offshore Alaska and northern Canada. Based on our success with this program, several of our BasinSPAN customers asked us to undertake a deep crustal study in a region offshore Greenland that is largely unexplored and potentially prospective. Given the harsh operating conditions in this area and the short weather window for acquisition, we needed to design a highly customized seismic program that allows operations to proceed in a highly efficient manner and with the utmost environmental sensitivity."

Bjarte Fageras, CEO of the Octio Group, added, "The GC Rieber Shipping Group has a long history of building and operating special-purpose vessels in the Arctic and Antarctic regions. While a seismic program in this area poses a unique set of challenges, I am confident that we will be able to acquire the data in a highly productive and environmentally aware manner to meet the demanding criteria set forth by ION and its program underwriters. For this project, ION's streamer portfolio was the only suitable technology solution. We purchased DigiSTREAMER due to its unique continuous recording capability and environmentally friendly, low-noise solid cable that enables operations in a wider weather window. We'll also be deploying DigiFIN, DigiBIRD, and the Orca command and control system to actively steer around and beneath any ice we encounter."

Acquisition for this phase of ArcticSPAN is expected to be conducted during an extended seasonal window with operations beginning in July 2009 and ending by October 2009.

BasinSPANs are deeply imaged seismic data programs acquired and imaged using the most advanced technology available. SPANs allow geoscientists to trace the basin-scale history of entire petroleum systems to determine where source rocks are most prevalent, where sediment fairways are located, and where the most promising migration paths from source to reservoir exist. SPANs are customized to image deep within the geologic section, cover an entire petroleum province, and overlay with areas of heightened structural or stratigraphic interest. Nearly 20,000 km of seismic data currently exist within the ArcticSPAN library. This season's Greenland program is expected to add an additional 6,500 km of data that will be imaged by ION's GX Technology subsidiary using the most advanced processing techniques available.